Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Life and Death. Hope and Sorrow.

I've been on a roller coaster of emotions this past week. I wrote about one of the highs. Today, I'd like to write about the lows.

Last week, I went to visit BJ's sister in Montana. Two hours before BJ and I got there, she got a phone call from her oncologist. It wasn't good news. He said things like
"Stage 4" and
"noncurative" and
"maybe treatment could buy some extra time, but...."

The next few days BJ and I went through the ups and downs and backs and forths with them.
In one of the conversations, she asked what I would do. I told her I would want to LIVE, not just exist. If treatment could only by her more quantity of life, but not quality of life, I wouldn't want that. I would want to live until I die.

She asked BJ what he would do. He said something similar.

Her husband said this seemed to be the less shitty of two really shitty choices. 

We talked about nutrition and natural healing. She has been studying about the power of the body and mind, and asked me if I thought the body could heal itself. ABSOLUTELY. I've experienced the kind of healing that people weren't sure was possible. My broken body and mind has become mostly whole. If I can overcome that, there are so many amazing things that are possible.

When it was just BJ and I, we cried. I felt sad and hopeless.
Both K and R have made me feel loved and accepted. They make everyone feel loved. They deserve to live loving and happy lives. I LOVE being around the two of them, because they are so loving and kind and fun to be with. Their wedding was so healing for me - changed me.

I felt angry that she wasn't getting what I wanted her to have. I felt sadness for her husband. He was so lonely for so many years, and then he finally found K. And now they were going to go through hell together, and for what? She was going to be in horrible pain until she died. How is that fair? He would go back to feeling lonely. My heart ached for him so much, I couldn't handle it.

And then I'd go back to thinking about the amazing machine that our bodies are. The miracles I have seen happen. I'd feel hopeful and scared.

Her oncologist had suggested surgery - even though the way he talked about it didn't make it sound like much of a solution. She decided she wanted to have all of the information from all of the sources she could find before making a decision. She drove back with us to meet with the surgeon in Salt Lake. This doctor had much more confidence in his ability to treat her, and was much more hopeful.

He said things like,
"completely cured"
"do everything you have always loved to do"
"pain and treatment for a year, and then LIFE"

I felt huge relief. She is tough and positive and amazing. A year of hell will be HELL, and it isn't fair, and she doesn't deserve this, and it fucking sucks... and then she can get on living the life she deserves. I will be there to support her any way I can. (Even if it's just swearing in the bathroom with her.) BJ will be there. Her friends, parents, her daughter, her husband's kids, her other siblings and their families... She is SO loved by so many. She'll continue to inspire and touch so many people's lives.

The next day I was out with a friend when BJ called me to tell me that another friend, Jen, had lost her daughter in a car accident. Kel was nine months pregnant with Jen's first grandson. Kel's fiance was also in the car along with their dogs. All of them were killed. In an instant, their little family was just... gone.

As I struggled to find out the details, and learn how Jen and all of Jen's friends and family were doing, my heart ached. I thought of the excitement Jen had felt when Kel got engaged. When she found out she was going to be a grandma. I thought of all the stories I'd heard of Kel. She was passionate about animals. She had a gift for understanding and loving animals that made me want to be like her.

I thought of all the times Jen was there for me. The way she listened and helped me feel loved, the things she taught me about loving myself. It isn't fair that she should have to face such a devastating thing.

Kel's brother posted on Facebook that he'd trade places in an instant.
Jen's best friend, and a dear friend of mine, tried to keep everyone updated on details of what happened and funeral plans. While also feeling her own hurt, and loss, and sadness.
Kel was planning the wedding of her dreams, and now Jen is planning a funeral. Somehow trying to honor the fairy tale day with the end of the fairy tale.

Neither of these stories are mine... but the pain, the loss, the fear, the sadness, the love, the joy, the connection is mine. And I feel a sense of gratitude just being a part of the beautiful parts of humanity. Today I am feeling hopeful for K.  I also feel scared for K and for her husband. I don't know what they will have to go through. I am feeling broken hearted for Jen. I am feeling gratitude for all of the love I have felt from so many. I am in awe of all that is this life.

I don't really have words for all of the emotions that I feel.
Just tears. Many tears. 

1 comment:

  1. oh my Jen... This made me well with tears... While I have been all quiet and mock-bummed that we haven't been able to chat at all.. And then I read this... and I wish that your workplace was just a few "tiptoes" away... But... Either way, I want to be here for you. I am here and I will drive up to my "least fave named" city in Utah to just BE with you..
    I love you and I am so sorry that there is so much going on... and yet, you continue to amaze me at how you are able to see hope in situations other people drown in just by looking in their general direction... Please call me.. Text me... Send me morse code... I don't care which means by which we communicate... lets just do it please.